IDEAS Book Club

The IDEAS Book group provides an opportunity for educators from IDEAS and EDCO districts to meet and share thoughts on the selected books and to discuss how they relate to educational practices and current events. The book group meets eight times over the school year. This year we have an optional ninth meeting. An email is sent out each month to remind book group members of the upcoming meeting. You only need to reply if you can attend.

All Meetings will be held via Zoom until further notice from 3:45p.m – 5:45 p.m

There is no commitment to attend all meetings.

2 Contact hours (PDPs) will be awarded for attendance per each meeting.

For more information about the IDEAS Book Group please contact Elli Stern at,

2020-2021 Book Club Selections & Dates

October 8, 2020

Tell Me Who You Are: Sharing Our Stories of Race, Culture, & Identity

by Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi

In this deeply inspiring book, Guo and Vulchi reveal the lines that separate us based on race or other perceived differences and how telling our stories–and listening deeply to the stories of others–are the first and most crucial steps we can take towards negating racial inequity in our culture. Featuring interviews with over 150 Americans accompanied by their photographs, this intimate toolkit also offers a deep examination of the seeds of racism and strategies for effecting change. This groundbreaking book will inspire readers to join Guo and Vulchi in imagining an America in which we can fully understand and appreciate who we are.

November 12, 2020

The Book of Lost Saints

by Daniel Jose Older

An evocative multigenerational Cuban-American family story of revolution, loss, and family bonds. Marisol vanished during the Cuban Revolution, disappearing with hardly a trace. Now, shaped by atrocities long-forgotten, her foul-mouthed spirit visits her nephew, Ramon, in modern-day New Jersey. Her hope: That her presence will prompt him to unearth their painful family history. The book is a haunting meditation on family, forgiveness, and the violent struggle to be free.

December 10, 2020

How to be an Antiracist

by Ibram X. Kendi

In this book Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas—from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities—that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves. Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society. (antiracist ideas)

January 7, 2021

Nickel Boys

by Colson Whitehead

In this bravura follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize, and National Book Award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.

February 11, 2021

Multiplications is for White People

by Lisa Delpit

In Multiplication Is for White People, Delpit reflects on two decades of reform efforts—including No Child Left Behind, standardized testing, the creation of alternative teacher certification paths, and the charter school movement—that have still left a generation of poor children of color feeling that higher educational achievement isn’t for them.

March 18, 2021

Braiding Sweetgrass

by Robin Wall Kimmerer

As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise” (Elizabeth Gilbert). Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices.

April 8, 2021

A Woman is No Man

by Etaf Rum

In her debut novel Etaf Rum tells the story of three generations of Palestinian-American women struggling to express their individual desires within the confines of their Arab culture in the wake of shocking intimate violence in their community—a story of culture and honor, secrets and betrayals, love and violence. Set in an America at once foreign to many and staggeringly close at hand, A Woman Is No Man is an intimate glimpse into a controlling and closed cultural world, and a universal tale about family and the ways silence and shame can destroy those we have sworn to protect.

May 13, 2021

Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain

by Zaretta Hammond

To close the achievement gap, diverse classrooms need a proven framework for optimizing student engagement. Culturally responsive instruction has shown promise, but many teachers have struggled with its implementation―until now. In this book, Zaretta Hammond draws on cutting edge neuroscience research to offer an innovative approach for designing and implementing brain compatible culturally responsive instruction.

June 10, 2021

Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing

by Joy Degruy

This book helps to lay the necessary foundation to ensure the well-being and sustained health of future generations and provides a rare glimpse into the evolution of society’s beliefs, feelings, attitudes and behavior concerning race in America. (the legacy of racism)

Previous Book Club Selections

Non- Fiction


  • The Beautiful Struggleby Ta Nehisi Coates
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • Between the World and Me by Ta Nehisi Coates
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
  • Dreams of My Father by Barak Obama
  • Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
  • A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Meby Condoleezza Rice
  • Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelo
  • My Beloved Worldby Sonia Sotomayor
  • My Life on the Roadby Gloria Steinem
  • No Ashes in the Fireby Darnell Moore
  • You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie

Historical and Current Examples of Discrimination and Marginalization

  • “All the Real Indians Died Off”: And 20 Other Myths of Native Americans by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker
  • Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universitiesby Craig Steven Wilder
  • Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicolas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
  • The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore
  • The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy Leagueby Jeff Hobbs

LGBTQ Issues

  • Becoming Nicole: The inspiring story of transgender actor-activist Nicole Maines and her extraordinary family by Amy Ellis Nutt

Essential Books for Educators

  • Despite the Best Intentions: How Racial Inequality Thrives in Good Schools by Amanda E Lewis and John B. Diamond
  • Far from the Treeby Andrew Solomon
  • For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood by Christopher Emdin
  • Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen
  • Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us by Claude Steele

Talking About Race and Racism

  • How to Be Less Stupid About Raceby Crystal M. Fleming
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • Waking Up White by Debby Irving

Justice System

  • Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America’s Most Powerful Mobster by Stephen J. Carter
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  • New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Racial Identity

  • Yellow: Race in America: Beyond Black and White by Frank Wu


  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hossei
  • Behold the Dreamersby Imbolo Mbue
  • Brother I am Dying by Edwidge Danticat
  • The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
  • Caucasia by Danzy Senna
  • Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Childhood by Fatima Mernissi
  • First Darling of the Morningby Thrity Umrigar
  • Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
  • How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
  • How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asiaby Mohsin Hamid
  • In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende
  • Invention of Wingsby Sue Mink Kidd
  • The Lemon Treeby Sandy Tolan
  • Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
  • Things Fall Apartby Chinua Achebe
  • Trans-Sister Radio, Chris Bohjalian
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
  • Zeitounby Dave Eggers

Young Adult

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • The Book Thiefby Markus Zusak
  • The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
  • A Step From Heavenby An Na
  • We Need New Namesby NoViolet Bulawayo

Start Your Search